CONCORD, N.C. – Last season, Kasey Kahne finished up his third year with Hendrick Motorsports.
And yet again, the driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS has provided the organization with long-lasting memories.
Before Kahne kicks off his fourth season with the team, let’s take a look back at some of his 2014 highlights.
Up front at Kansas
Kahne had some ground to make up after qualifying 17th at Kansas Speedway on May 10. Despite the setback, the 34-year-old driver was undaunted; he maneuvered his No. 5 Chevy SS to the front of the pack, leading 22 laps before finishing third at the 1.5-mile track behind teammate and race-winner Jeff Gordon. Since arriving at Hendrick Motorsports, Kahne has recorded finishes of eighth or better at approximately 66.67 percent of the Kansas races he’s run.
Saved by the checkered flag in Atlanta
The No. 5 team needed a win to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. And they were almost out of time with only two races left until the championship run began. With that thought resting heavily on his mind, Kahne traveled down south for the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But 335 laps later, that pestering thought was no longer present – Kahne led 25 laps around the Georgia track en route to his third career win at Atlanta. His win also meant that all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers qualified for the 2014 Chase.
Kahne is the newest addition to Hendrick Motorsports, having raced for the organization since 2012. In that span, he has qualified every year for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, including this season with his win at Atlanta. His best year-end finish under the Hendrick Motorsports banner came during his rookie season with the team, when he finished fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings.
Leading laps at Indy
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of the more famous tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit and it’s a place where every driver wants to run well. After starting 10th in 2014’s Brickyard 400, Kahne paced the field for 70 of 160 laps before securing a sixth-place finish at the Indiana track. His laps-led total was a personal best for a single race at Indianapolis. Kahne also paced the field for more laps in this season’s Brickyard 400 than he had in the 2006-2013 Indy races combined.
“I would have loved to win at the Brickyard. We had a good car. I thought I gave it all I had. The team gave it all they had and we just came up a little short,” Kahne said of what he called the season’s “strongest effort” to that point. “We can take a lot out of here. That was a good performance.”
Passing a race car at speeds nearing 200 mph is never an easy task. But this season, Kahne made it look simple – the driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS made 2,121 green-flag passes on cars running in the top 15 in 2014. That ranked him third among his Sprint Cup peers in quality passes in 2014, which also made him the leader in the category among his teammates.